The Sustainability InstituteThe Sustainability Institute

by Katherine Richards


Energy Conservation Corps

We often underestimate how big of an impact we can have on someone or something. No matter how big or how small, how simple or complex, we always have a choice to leave a footprint and make an impression. Through the cracks of a house, Corps member Chris rediscovered this phenomenon.

Chris was introduced to the Energy Conservation Corps after his mom heard it advertised on the radio. As a musician, a singer, a producer, and a dad, Chris is no stranger to hard work. However, seeking something that would provide a positive and productive outlet to his life, the ECC seemed like a perfect match. Although one of the newer additions to the program, he has already refined a multitude of new skills and taken advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. One of his newly acquired skills is the art of insulation. “I didn’t realize how big of a difference sealing such a small area would make”, admitted Chris as he described his now proficient knowledge of insulation. And thus, Chris’s realization illustrates the immeasurable impacts of the ECC that not only benefit the homeowner, but the Corps member. While sealing a door in a house, a new door of self-discovery is opened. “I can now use the skills and training that I’ve learned in my own life; reducing energy use and cutting utility bills, I can now help myself and my mom”. Chris, like most of us, appreciates work that’s dynamic and hands-on opposed to sitting at a desk or taking orders. Here, success is measured by eliminating the cold drafts in a house and seeing a warm smile on the homeowner’s face. Physically seeing the difference they make in the lives of others provides an indescribable sense of fulfillment for the Corps members. Chris expressed the meaning of sustainability as “being able to sustain life”. At its very core, this is the dream that the Sustainability Institute is pursuing to create a reality.  

About krichards
Katherine Westmoreland Richards holds a dual-degree for International Business and Management and published an acclaimed research thesis on energy in the Netherlands. Katherine's passion for energy continued as she worked in Ecuador to help create sustainable business solutions for a reserve in the rainforest. Katherine now works on development at The Sustainability Institute and uses her experience and passion to continue to develop a sustainable Charleston.